Question 36 What do we believe about the Holy Spirit?
That he is God, coeternal with the Father and the Son, and that God grants him irrevocably to all who believe.
Rarely does a Christian struggle to think of God as Father. And to envision God as Son is not a problem for many. These personal names come easily to us because our lives and relationships are inescapably intertwined with fathers and sons here on earth. But God as Holy Spirit is often a different matter.
Sam Storm writes:
How different this is from what we actually read in Scripture. There we see that the Spirit is not third in rank in the Godhead but is coequal and coeternal with the Father and Son, sharing with them all the glory and honor due unto our triune God. The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal power or an ethereal, abstract energy. The Spirit is personal in every sense of the term. He has a mind and thinks (Isa. 11:2; Rom. 8:27). He is capable of experiencing deep affections and feelings (Rom. 8:26; 15:30). The Spirit has a will and makes choices regarding what is best for God’s people and what will most glorify the Son (Acts 16:7; 1 Cor. 2:11).
We see even more of the Spirit’s personality when he is described as being grieved when we sin (Eph. 4:30). The Spirit, no less so than the Father and the Son, enters into a vibrant and intimate relationship with all whom he indwells (2 Cor. 13:14). The Spirit talks (Mark 13:11; Rev. 2:7), testifies (John 15:26; 16:13) encourages (Acts 9:31), strengthens (Eph. 3:16), and teaches us, especially in times of spiritual emergency (Luke 12:12). That the Spirit is personal is seen in that he can be lied to (Acts 5:3), insulted (Heb. 10:29), and even blasphemed (Matt. 12:31–32).
We are going to study John 14 tonight, but leading up to the passage we will study, a little background to the context of timing in regards to the crucifixion we talked about this morning.
Chapter 12 - The Triumphal Entry (Monday)
Chapter 13 - The Feast of the Passover (Thursday)
The disciples were arguing on who was the most important
Christ washed their feet to teach them true importance
Chapters 14-17 - Take place all Thursday evening through Friday morning, the day of the crucifixion
Following the first 14 verses of this chapter, and Christ’s call for his disciples to believe Him, Jesus gives the great promise of another Comforter. Soon He would give His life a ransom for many, and soon thereafter He would ascend back to the Father, but not before He assured them of the Master Plan.
Christ was going to be leaving, but the Holy Spirit was coming in His place.
READ JOHN 14:15-31
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. 19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, “Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me. 25 “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 28 You have heard Me say to you, ‘I am going away and coming back to you.’ If you loved Me, you would rejoice because I said, ‘I am going to the Father,’ for My Father is greater than I. 29 “And now I have told you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe. 30 I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming, and he has nothing in Me. 31 But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, so I do. Arise, let us go from here.
Following Philips question in v. 8 to see the Father, Jesus explains clearly what Philip and the other followers of Christ could anticipate:
1. The Practice of the Changed (v. 15)
Those who genuinely love Him, will genuinely obey Him.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
2. The Promise of a Comforter (v. 16)
A. Equal in Nature (v. 16a)
ἄλλος - allos – “another of the same kind.”
When Jesus would no longer be with the disciples physically, the Holy Spirit would be their constant companion to guide, help, and empower them for the tasks ahead.
B. Enduring Forever (v. 16b)
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
The Holy Spirit would not be leaving them. Back in March we did a three week study on the Holy Spirit and learned that there is a difference in the temporary anointing of the HS in the OT and the permanent indwelling found within the NT.
The promised comforter will never leave the believer.
3. The Presence of the Comforter (vv. 17-31)
A. The Reality of His Presence (v. 17)
1.) Some Won’t Receive Him, Because of Doubt (v. 17a)
31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”
2.) Some Will Receive Him, Because of Faith (v. 17b)
14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
Unlike other kinds of power, we do not harness God’s spiritual power: we yield to it in faith.
B. The Reason for His Presence (vv. 18-26)
1.) So We Won’t Be Alone (vv. 18-21)
COMFORTLESS - really means orphaned
5 A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation.
2.) So We Can Live Out His Will (vv. 22-24)
15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
3.) So We May Learn His Way (vv. 25-26)
14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
C. The Reassurance of His Peace (vv. 27-31)
1.) Peace, So We Won’t Fear (v. 27)
7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
2.) Peace, So We May Believe (vv. 28-29)
19 Now I tell you before it comes, that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He.
3.) Peace, So We May Obey (vv. 30-31)
5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6 So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”
Regardless of what was coming in less than 24 hours, Christ set the example of obedience.
As believers in Christ and beneficiaries of God’s abiding presence in us, we would do well to consider the words of Thomas Torrance, who reminds us that
“the Spirit is not just something divine or something akin to God emanating from him, not some sort of action at a distance or some kind of gift detachable from himself, for in the Holy Spirit God acts directly upon us himself, and in giving us his Holy Spirit God gives us nothing less than himself.”
What is the Christian life about? The same purpose of Creation.
Is the promise of His presence and His peace that passes understanding a reality in your life?
Have you ever come to the realization that Christ is Who He said He Is, and placed your faith in Him?